DR Congo

Disease threat follows Kinshasa flooding

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Medical agency Merlin will this week distribute survival kits to families made homeless by severe flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Thousands of people are at risk from disease in Kinshasa, DRC's capital city. Water from the River Congo swamped homes and streets in what has been termed 'the flood of the century'. Families evacuated from low-lying - also the most populated - areas of the city are now living rough in derelict warehouses. These makeshift camps are reporting an increased diarrhoea and malaria incidence, as people are forced to cramp together without basic shelter, clean water, adequate sanitation or mosquito nets.

Merlin is distributing 6,000 Community Survival Kits to people most at risk from the flooding. The kits include jerry cans and mosquito nets.

Linda Doull, medical advisor for the DRC programme, said: "The River Congo often bursts its banks, but this flooding is already the worst on record. Malaria isn't new to Kinshasa either - it's endemic there - but this deadly combination means the city could be facing an acute outbreak. These survival kits will help people to cook hygenically and be protected from mosquitoes, both of which will help safeguard them from disease."

This distribution of emergency aid is funded by the British Embassy. Merlin has operated primary health care and disease control programmes in DRC since 1994.